Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Gardening

Article excerpt

THE spring weather has lured enthusiastic punters to garden centres nationwide, ready to snap up a plethora of gorgeous plants, containers and other sundries to make their garden dazzle this year.

Yet research shows that in a tough economy, gardens are a low priority among householders.

The current average spend on a UK garden is pounds 482.16 a year with 42% of people spending nothing at all on their outdoor areas, according to research by woodcare manufacturer Ronseal.

But you can have a lovely garden without spending a fortune. When money's tight, there's a crop of prudent measures which can be taken which will save you a lot of cash.

Before visiting a garden centre, make a list first and only buy what is on that list. Work out what you really need, list the plants and other essentials and stick to that list. Walk up your garden beforehand and see where the spaces are, how the plants you want are going to work and where you will put them. If you have a stack of containers to fill, consider using permanent plantings rather than annuals which will need replacing each year. Check in your own garden to see what you may be able to use. Overgrown clumps of ornamental grasses and other perennial plants such as hostas can be lifted and divided and divisions of the plant can be used to fill pots and other containers. Hostas in particular look great grown in pots, their lush green leaves making any shady corner of the patio look exotic.

Longer-term, scan the discount shelves for sale plants which have finished flowering but should be absolutely fine next season. You can often save quite a few pounds on perennials which will bloom year after year if you're prepared to wait a while for the results.

If you're buying shrubs, buy smaller plants which are cheaper, as the space in-between can be filled with hardy annuals grown from seed that you directly sow into the flower beds. They are easy to grow, great value for money plus they give lots of colour all summer. …

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